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  • Doug Tjapkes

Most people never listen: Hemingway

"Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you'd have preferred to talk." --Doug Larson As the host of a daily radio talk show for more than 15 years, I learned some very important lessons. One of the best ones, the most meaningful, was the importance of listening. You’ll see and hear broadcasters who still haven’t received that message day in and day out on radio and TV. They claim to be interviewing, but they’re not listening to their guest. They’re simply nodding, and thinking about the next question they’re going to ask. Early on in the business, I learned that interviewing isn’t Q and A, it’s discussion! And meaningful discussion only happens when all parties listen. I’m harping on that topic today, because last night HFP CEO Matt Tjapkes introduced breaking news. He announced the formation of HFP’s first Client Advisory Committee. As you know, our clients reside in Michigan prisons. This has been a dream of our President for years: getting input, advice and suggestions from the people we serve. After a lengthy and deliberative process of selecting a broad cross-section of inmates, Matt announced the appointment of these six persons to our first committee, in alphabetical order: Steven Benjamin, Sharee Miller, LaChante Mobley, Jami Naturalite, Herbert Newman and Matthew Parker. I’m so pleased that these prison residents have agreed to serve in this capacity. I know all of them, and have great respect for all of them. This is a dramatic move for a prisoner advocacy agency. We know of no other organization that has taken a step in this direction. Granted, we’re going to have to walk before we run, but I think it is an exciting development. Who better to give us advice and suggestions than the very people we are trying to help? HFP, serving thousands of Michigan prisoners with this message: You matter! "One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say." Bryant H. McGill

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